Claire Robinson Finds Natural Bliss in the Kitchen

By Fabiana Santana

If there is something Food Network celebrity chef Claire Robinson knows well, it’s quality ingredients. When you only cook with five of them, you can’t help but be selective.  “I choose my recipes based on what is in season and available. If it’s not in season, choose another recipe. That is how everyone should cook.”

The mantra is a simple one and doesn’t just make cooking easier, but it makes the cook healthier, too.  “ The most important piece of advice I can offer is to know what you put into your body.  I can out eat most people. It’s my job. But I work out a lot and I know what I am eating. If you can’t easily find the ingredients, choose another recipe. And if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a label, don’t put it in your body. It’s most likely not good for you. Turn over your packages and read!”

Claire keeps all those things in mind when she is choosing ingredients for her 5 Ingredient Fix recipes. She believes the best dishes feature carefully selected fresh foods with distinct flavors and a straightforward cooking style that also promotes healthy and seasonal eating, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t look for ease, too.

At a recent breakfast celebrating the launch of Coffee-mate’s new Natural Bliss coffee creamer, Claire shared her excitement about the all natural product and her recipe for French Toast with Sweet Whipped Cream. “When I first read the ingredients – cream, skim milk and sugar – I thought, ‘Wow this is great for my coffee!’ And then it hit me. I can cook with this!”

Claire calls Natural Bliss a double duty ingredient: an ingredient that delivers maximum flavor because it combines several all natural ingredients together, making it easy for her stay within her 5 ingredient limit. “ A ton of ingredients can get confusing.” But sometimes, she says, you might need a couple more than five. “It’s not the perfect number all the time,” she says. So, that is where products like Natural Bliss and flavor infused olive oils  – another of her favorite double duty ingredients – can really come in handy.

“Quick cooking doesn’t have to be cheating. It can be convenient, though. I started cooking this way when supermarkets weren’t readily accessible to me in France. I only had a few ingredients. And when they are fresh and good, you don’t have to do a lot to them. A sign of a great chef is how you choose the ingredients. There is never an excuse not to get fresh food on the table.”

For a coupon to try Coffee-mate’s new Natural Bliss creamer, click here.

French Toast with Strawberries and Cream

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, sliced and divided

2 tablespoons water

6 large eggs

Table salt

1 1/4 cup Nestle Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Sweet Cream all-natural dairy creamer, divided

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

8 1-inch-thick slices brioche (from day old loaf)

1 cup heavy cream

.                Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and place an ovenproof serving platter in oven.

.                In a medium saucepan over moderate heat add 2 cups berries and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until berries are softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

.                In a large shallow bowl whisk together eggs, 1 cup Natural Bliss Sweet Cream and a pinch of table salt.

.                Place a large non-stick griddle or non-stick skillet over medium heat and melt half the butter. Working in batches, dip half the bread quickly in egg mixture until lightly soaked, turning over to coat both sides of bread.

.                Transfer bread to skillet and cook until golden brown and slightly crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Place French Toast on platter in oven and cover loosely with foil. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

.                Whip 1 cup cream to soft peaks and slowly whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup Natural Bliss Sweet Cream.

Serve French Toast with warm strawberries, reserved fresh strawberries and freshly whipped cream.